Lords vote on ‘Bricks and Water’ amendment to Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill
As part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill’s report stage in the House of Lords, Bricks and Water Chair, Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, has recently put forward several amendments relating to flood risk management.
These amendments closely align with recommendations from the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum’s Bricks and Water inquiry, including for implementation of Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act, strengthening of building regulations, discounted insurance premiums for customers who install property flood resilience measures, and mandatory participation in Flood Re’s Build Back Better scheme.
Given the limited time available, only amendment 232 was voted on, which proposed a new clause forbidding local authorities to grant permission for residential properties to be built on functional floodplains or areas at high risk of flooding. This was passed and the new clause was inserted into the bill.
Bricks and Water: Managing flood risk and accelerating adaptation in a climate emergency recommends the following:
- The Government should provide clearer guidance on how and when to undertake the Sequential Test so that it can be applied by developers and Local Planning Authorities more robustly
- The Environment Agency ‘Flood Map for Planning’ should be expanded to include all current and future sources of flood risk and to assist with application of the Sequential Test and site-specific flood risk assessment.
- The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities should undertake a review of the Town and Country Planning (Consultation) (England) Direction 2021 to ensure that it is followed in cases where the Environment Agency has sustained an objection to a planning application on the grounds of flood risk from rivers or the sea.
- The Environment Agency flood alert system should be expanded to cover the risks from surface water flooding as soon as more accurate forecasting and mapping information is available.
- The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs should start the public consultation on implementation of Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act in June 2023, with the aim of implementing Schedule 3 by the end of the year
- SuDS approving bodies should receive ringfenced funds (sourced from developer contributions) to enable them to adopt orphan SuDS where necessary and take enforcement action where SuDS have not been installed and maintained appropriately. This should be considered as part of the forthcoming consultation on implementation of Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act.
- Part C of Building Regulations should be strengthened to require all properties at high risk of flooding to include property flood resilience measures. These measures should be specified and installed in accordance with the CIRIA Code of Practice for property flood resilience.
- Products and materials used to make homes more resilient to flooding (in accordance with the CIRIA Code of Practice for property flood resilience) should be exempt from VAT to incentivise use by homeowners.
- All insurers should offer discounted premiums to customers who install property flood resilience measures, in accordance with the CIRIA Code of Practice.
- It should be mandatory for all insurers to offer Build Back Better, funding reimbursement costs of up to £10,000, over and above work to repair damage and loss caused by a flood.
To find out more about this work, please contact robert.allen [at] policyconnect.org.uk